We, the assembled international scholars and experts on antisemitism call on the government of Poland to withdraw its proposed amendment of the Act on the Institute of National Remembrance.
This law, if implemented would gravely inhibit freedom of research and speech and would severely distort the history of the Holocaust in Poland. It poses a direct threat to Holocaust survivors, scholars and all those who research and retell the story of that dark period. While we also agree that the term “Polish death camps” is historically inaccurate and should be strictly avoided, we firmly reject all attempts to educate through threats and criminalization
We also express our deep dismay and concern about the recent manifestations of antisemitism that have appeared in statements from the highest levels of the Polish government and elected representatives and in State media. These statements have created an atmosphere that challenge the ability of the Jewish community to continue to exist in Poland and have brought controversy and shame onto Poland’s international reputation
Both of the manifestations described above fall under the categories described in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) “Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion” and “Working Definition of Antisemitism”. We call upon Poland, as a longstanding member of the IHRA to live up to its international commitments and to reject any action that falls under those definitions.
Finally we also wish to express our concern about the growing trend of democratically elected governments to legitimize antisemitism through words and actions.
It is our hope that our conference, by gathering the leading international experts on antisemitism together with an eye toward suggesting policy recommendations in the fight against antisemitism can help bring about “An End to Antisemitism”.
Institute for Jewish Studies
University of Vienna
Spitalgasse 2 / Court 7.3